Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you throw the switch to turn on your heating system when the weather gets cold and it won’t start, common furnace problems can impact your home at any moment.
Regardless of the cause, understanding how your heating system works and a little bit about some frequent furnace problems is vital in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional services. By observing the furnace's behavior, listening for peculiar noises and checking for signs of damage or blockage, you can narrow down the possible causes.
If you're uncertain about the problem or lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like Smyth Air Conditioning. We can accurately diagnose the issue and execute the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace working again ASAP.
Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other prevalent heating dilemmas:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for a number of reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water produced during the combustion process is not effectively draining away. This could be due to a plugged condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another likely cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to water—as well as dangerous gases—leaking out of the furnace.
It is necessary to deal with water leaks quickly to prevent further damage to your furnace. Contacting a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Smyth Air Conditioning is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue successfully.
2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some likely causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air could be a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It could also be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a professional HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and advise you on the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A widespread reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home is lacking insulation, which can lead to heat loss and lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s not powerful enough for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to effectively warm the space. A defective thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce insufficient heating.
To deal with this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to keep warm air in and cold air out of your home. Also, examine the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries are working.
If the problem won’t go away, consider contacting an experienced HVAC company, such as Smyth Air Conditioning, who can look over your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or changing your thermostat settings.
4. My Furnace Is Not Working
If your furnace is not working, there are a couple of steps you can take to troubleshoot before contacting a pro. Check if the thermostat is set correctly and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to verify power is reaching the furnace.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to contact a seasoned HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, that means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals as opposed to running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can cause inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your furnace.
If you think your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, look at your thermostat and verify it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s best to call experts like the staff at Smyth Air Conditioning. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and reduce the chance of additional complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
Whenever your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is an indication of an issue with the electrical parts or the blower motor. For this reason, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise persists, it is a good idea to get in touch with a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is producing a consistent loud noise, it's important to address the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common cause of this is a broken blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another potential cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may produce a squealing or rattling noise.
Because of the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's better to get in touch with a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace won't turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are good. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse that controls the furnace is working right. If these basic checks don't fix the problem, you can examine the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to ensure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t get the job done, contact a heating specialist for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Much like a furnace that will not on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be the result of a dirty air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking the air filter and taking a peek at your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace continuously attempting to ignite without success, no heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be very easily solved by HVAC specialists like the team at Smyth Air Conditioning.